San Diego Change of Status Lawyer
Change of Status
If you are currently living in the United States and wish to change the purpose of your visit, and thus your visa, you (or in some cases your employer) will need to file a request with the USCIS via the appropriate form prior to the expiration of your authorized stay. This is an application to change your status. Often this means you are changing to a nonimmigrant category. An example of this is: you have arrived in the U.S. as a tourist, but wish to become a student.
Check Your Authorized Status
Until the USCIS has approved your change of status application, do not assume the status change has been approved, and do not change your current activity in the United States. Failing to maintain your nonimmigrant status (even if you have applied for a change of status) you can be barred from returning to and/or deported from the United States. To check your authorized status and the date the status expires, look at the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record.
Generally, you are able to apply to change your status to a nonimmigrant status if you were legally admitted to the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa, if your nonimmigrant status is valid, if you have not violated the conditions of your status, and if you have not committed crimes that would have deemed you ineligible.
You do not have to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the U.S. under a B-1 visa category (for business reasons) and you wish to remain in the U.S. for pleasure before the authorized stay expires.
Changes to Your Nonimmigrant Status
You do not have to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you wish to attend school in the U.S. and you are the spouse or child of someone who is currently in the U.S. under any of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:
- Diplomatic and other government officials, and employees (A visa category)
- International trade and investors (E visa )
- Representatives to international organizations and their employees (G visa)
- Temporary workers (H visa)
- Representatives of foreign media (I visa)
- Exchange visitors (J visa)
- Intracompany transferees (L visa)
- Academic (F visa) or vocational (M visa) students (you may attend elementary, middle or high school only: if you want to attend post-secondary school full-time you must apply for a change of status).
You may not apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the U.S. in the following categories:
- Visa Waiver Program• Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
- In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
- In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
- Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
- Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)
If you are a vocational student (M-1), you are not able to change your status to a(n):
- Academic student (F-1)
- Any H status (Temporary worker), if the training you received as a vocational student in the U.S. provided the qualifications for the temporary worker position you seek.
If you are an international exchange visitor (J-1), you are not able to change your nonimmigrant status if:
- You were admitted to the U.S. to receive graduate medical training, unless you receive a special waiver.
- You are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement, unless you receive a waiver.
- If you do not receive a waiver, you may only apply to change to a diplomatic and other government officials (A visa) or representatives to international organizations (G visa)
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